Pixelsumo is a blog about interaction, with an emphasis on play, installation, video game culture, playgrounds and toys. Written by Chris O'Shea.
Posted February 9th 2007 under Multi-touch
Continuing my investigation into possible interaction models and methods of production in multi-touch surfaces, I thought it was time for an update post.
For anyone new to this area, back in August 2005 I posted the work of Jeff Han, a multi-touch surface using reflection of infrared light and computer vision. Jeff then displayed his latest research of various ways of interacting using multiple fingers and using a collaborative surface. Others began using the same FTIR technique as Jeff to explore ideas, such in Jens Wunderling, Tangent and tabulaTouch.
So the overhyped but impressive Apple iPhone was announced. No comment needed. Of course it features multi-touch screen input, for manipulation of photos and maps, in a gesture like that of Jeffs demo. Apple published a multi-touch patent (WO2005114369) in 2005, as covered in detail by this blog, including many drawings. Here are some more drawings. Apple are rumored to have bought Fingerworks, a company perhaps behind the multi-touch device for this phone and future products. Here is an iPhone video, skip to 2:00 for ‘pinching’ gesture.
(photo from above Engadget)
What else? Jeff Han has started a new company to provide multi-touch solutions called Perceptive Pixel. He has released some new prototypes for Fast Company, watch this video. Another set of impressive demonstrations, this time split over two wall projections making it easier for multi user access. The article Can’t Touch This gives a good behind the scenes of Jeffs beginnings and current direction. I look forward to seeing realworld applications of multi-touch interaction, how this alters workflow and collaboration, beyond the future military uses (Jeffs current buyer I believe).
So after the TED talks videos, the blogging world exploded with excitement about Jeffs mutil-touch device. Jens Wunderling, Tabulatouch and Tangent already had working demos out before this excitement, but word spread on how to achieve the FTIR technique. Now many people are exploring the best way to create such devices.
So what next?
The NUI Group (started by Chris Moore) are bringing all of this together, focussing their work on documenting “Open Source Multi Touch”…’which is purely for accelerating development of FTIR hardware and gesture tracking software. Thus allowing us to find the cheapest and most effective ways to construct our input devices’. Their blog documents more work emerging in this area, a discussion forum and wiki.
This will be my last post on multi-touch interactive surfaces until :
a) real world application of someone using a device in their industry.
b) a new form of gesture or interaction is shown, beyond that of Jeffs presentations.
c) a completed guide and software kit is released for people to create their own screens.
c-base in Berlin have built their own multiTouchConsole (thanks Jens). Their site and this video gives an insight into the build process. There don’t appear to be any user interaction demos available yet though.
Building a Multi-Touch Sensitive Table